Thursday, June 30, 2005

From the artist's notebook

Here are some of the random thoughts from yesterday... for short stories, or general amusement, etc, or maybe for neither...

* Hannah was giving a sermon on how much limes improve a drink, an evening, life."
"I don't know why this big introduction is happening, there isn't a lime waiting in the wings... there's no lime at the end of the tunnel..."

* Jesco White, the outlaw clogger has a sign on his property - "Pit Bull with AIDS" - Jesco lives in a cesspool in the middle of nowhere, and he's protecting it as if it's Fort Knox.

* at some point in an evening of smoking dope, some stoner always tells a long incoherent story of someone whose life was destroyed by an orange.

* he is more Middle Earth... he plays air mandolin...

* Britain is just way behind America when it comes to relaxation. While we were trying to relax, Americans were kicking back. We didn't start to chill out until the 90s, by which time people in California had been chilling out for 30 years. You could catch the Summer of Love twice, once in the 60s in America and again in 1992 in Britain. Except the British Summer of Love only lasted three days, due to adverse weather conditions.

* The horses are dead, now look at them singing. OR Now look at them singing, the horses are dead. Strangely reversible sentences.

* Another tattooing/strange canvas scenario, a short play that was printed in sections on the shins of 14 Russian noblemen... complementary stanzas that blossomed into full poetry dependent upon society marriages...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cycling

I haven't posted very much lately, who knows why? I've been having a love affair with the exercise bike and this evening I completed my fifth 10 mile ride in the last week. I've been spurred into action since my medical showed my blood pressure was rather high. Having been someone who has had periods of wondering around taking their pulse every 2 or 3 minutes, this gave me the willies.

Since then I have been working hard trying to ensure I live past my 40th birthday.

I will now go away and come up with some proper blog material.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sad sad sad sad day

Poor Richard Whiteley has died. Richard presented Countdown on Channel 4 for 23 years, always smiling, always making terrible jokes. The show was probably the only consistent outlet for those of a cerebral turn of mind, and as such, helped me through many of my college days.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Domestic Life

I noticed evidence of a new phase in my marriage today. Hannah will say something like, "It sure would be great if someone did X to the TV or wired up the DVD so we could do Y." This is then repeated a few times. Gradually, I have come to realise that this is a subtle request for me to do something.

To cater for this, I've suggested that Hannah purchases a selection of work clothes for me. She can sew on patches - electrician, home entertainment specialist, window cleaner, cook, plumber, etc. Then, my day becomes simply a matter of waking up and seeing which of my work uniforms have been laid out for me.

"Oh! Plumbing and Electrician, great!" or "Oh, cooking and cleaning windows."

We can even install a clock for me to punch in and out of, so we can keep a tally on my hours.

*

We lay in bed and watched The Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant on local TV tonight. What an event! My own favorite of the competitors was Miss Soy Bean Festival 2005!

Genius. The two hours was super-embarrassing crapola, with a floppy haired cruise ship guy jigging around singing Moondance, each contestant coming forward and showcasing their "talent" - hmmm, lots of strange singing. It was interesting how a strand of wealthy Americans still look to the courtly pastimes of Europe for inspiration - two girls sang opera, another played the HARP! the Harp, in 2005! wonderful.

Enough of the anthropological-lite analysis. I have to go, it's late and my body wants bacon and eggs.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bedroom TiVo

We rigged up a television in the bedroom and fixed it up so we can operate the TiVo box, too. This required:

25' coaxial cable
new TV
wireless remote control extender

We can now lie in bed and watch things together and feel properly married and middle aged. Last night was Rear Window, tonight is Glengarry Glenn Ross. Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Killen found guilty

Sooo, Mr Edgar Ray Killen has rightly been found guilty, though not of murder.

Sentencing is on Thursday, let's hope he gets plenty of years in jail. And that's not me being heartless to an old man, Mr Killen needs to pay his debt to society, regardless of his age and health.

Update

Killen drew 60 years, thats 3 x 20 for the killings he arranged. There's appeal stuff to go through before this is settled. I didn't take any pleasure in the sentences, but I admired Judge Gordon for exacting the maximum penalty, it fitted absolutely the narrative arc of this entire historical sequence. A just ending, not a happy one.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Some alternative US military operation names

The US are busy attacking insurgents again with Operation Dagger. What an uninteresting name for a military operation. I think whoever thinks up the names is running out of ideas, so here are 10 of my own...

1. Operation Retro Hairstyles and Clothes
2. Operation Exploding Pudding
3. Operation Strapless Bra
4. Operation Anaesthetised Churchmouse (this would be a stealth operation)
5. Operation Luminous Underwear
6. Operation Clown Shoes
7. Operation Six Cheeses
8. Operation Bingo Bongo Blango Blammo!
9. Operation Camel Toe
10. Operation Bug-Eyed Madness

Thursday, June 16, 2005

History Being Made

We're in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to observe the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, an 80 year old Klansman, on trial for murder for his part in a conspiracy that saw three civil rights activists kidnapped, beaten, and executed, in 1964.

The world's media are here, 221 affiliated journalists. While they competed in a lottery for courthouse seats, we lined up with the general public.

It was a dramatic day in court. After the defence had motions to dismiss denied, the prosecution called its first witness, Rita Schwerner Bender, the widow of Michael 'Mickey' Schwerner, one of the three men who was murdered.

Rita Schwerner Bender's moving testimony transported us back to 1964, a time of intimidation and violence in the Deep South. The atmosphere in the courtroom was charged, with some people sobbing openly throughout. Rita and Mickey had moved to Mississippi from New York, to begin a project in Meridian that supplemented the meagre selection of books that were available in the blacks only library. They lived with Afro-American families, moving on whenever the threat level became too high.

Mickey and another activist spoke at the Mt Zion church, Philadelphia. They were in dialogue about setting up another book project and training people to register black voters in Mississippi. Shortly after they spoke, the Ku Klux Klan gave severe beatings to several elders of the Mt Zion congregation. They burned down the church.

Mickey came back to investigate and offer support to the church. He was accompanied by fellow activists, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. They were arrested on a trumped-up charge in Philadelphia. On their release they were ambushed, driven away, beaten, and shot. A few days later their blue station wagon was found, burned out in a swamp. 44 days later the FBI found their bodies in an earthen dam.

Rita Schwerner Bender's left the stand, her head held high, her emotions still held in check. She had made a difficult journey back to Philadelphia and testified with great dignity. In a TV movie, I'm sure people would've applauded her from the stand.

For his part, Edgar Killen sat in court until just before Rita's testimony. His defence team then requested he see a nurse and he was led out. He left court on a stretcher, bound for the ICU. His condition will be assessed tomorrow and, if given the all clear, the trial will resume.

Hannah and myself were interviewed by a local paper and I will post a link when that story is published, it will likely be today.

*UPDATE*

Here's what the Meridian Star ran about myself and Hannah.

Hannah Kennedy and her husband, Jason, drove to Philadelphia from Memphis to watch the Edgar Ray Killen trial at the Neshoba County courthouse. Hannah Kennedy is a second-year law student at the University of Memphis and said she wants to see legal history in the making.

The couple agreed that being inside the courthouse makes it easier to imagine what it may have been like during Killen's 1967 federal trial. Hannah Kennedy has family ties in Northeast Mississippi and Jason is a native of Dublin, Ireland. (I know, I know, I'm not a native of Dublin).

Monday, June 13, 2005

Oh! What a Wonderful Tour

We're back after a few days away, sensational days away, seeing America. Up to the Appalachians, to the Smokey Mountains! how amazing, I've never seen anything like it. We were spontaneous and simply set off, with the result there were some enforced detours. The first night we couldn't find a hotel room in Asheville due to a Dog show and numerous music and arts events that were happening. We ended up 50 miles away in Spartanburg.

Back to Asheville the next day, after many missed turns. It's a hippie hangout for North Carolinans, where the Cafe Soleil wants to charge 9 bucks for their organic free range eggs and a piece of bread, and boost the price of a ham sandwich by placing the single French word "La" in front of it. ("Excuse me, but La Ham Sandwich is inferior, may I speak with La Manager") Basically, the most inferior kind of American pretensions to sophistications. Read their stupid menu here (someone seems to be blissfully unaware that "la" has a friend called "le")

We took some reassurance in rebelling against 9 dollar eggs and going to the Waffle House. I firmly believe that the best place for myself is in the main flow of American society, regardless of the funny looks and occasionally hostile reactions to our bumper stickers. So it was that we sat and ate our waffles and listened to the old folks talking (they were ministers on a religious tour - Asheville's hippie zone had no place for old folks, we were OLD! there).

We headed out to Cherokee Indian Reservation, driving through those amazing mountains. I saw a real life American Indian or two - one Indian's house had a handmade sign that said "BITING DOGS", I thought that was good. We bought some great fudge (chocolate pecan for H, pumpkin for me), were latched on to by a drunk fisherman from Pennsylvania AND attacked by bugs (these things happening simultaneously). We went back to Asheville for the night and watched Mexican TV, brilliantly rude and odd, one five minute monologue revolved around disguising extramarital affairs via trips to a sushi bar.


The next day we headed out to Johnson City, Hannah wondered if it was a good city to move to when Law School ends. It isn't. It has this decaying, dessicated, vibe, like everyone is making a living by repairing everyone else's car. We zipped away on a long long drive that took us through Knoxville (smoke, large buildings, and smoke) to Chattanooga. Chattanooga is some place. As well as a great name, it's in a beautiful location, right on a wide river, with Signal Mountain in the background. We gave Paris Hilton some extra Shoe Money with a stay at a Hilton Inn downtown. There was a music festival in full swing, lots of families out, people having a good time. It was nothing like Memphis downtown where panhandlers, thieves, crazies, and carjackers make it a horror to venture down there, even in daytime.

We ate at a place called Tortilla Factory, really good food. I was carded for ID when I ordered a beer. Now, Hannah was looking after my ID, and it's a card issued by the Department of Homeland Security, basically it authorises me to work. However! via a misunderstanding, Hannah said, "This is his card, Department of Homeland Security" At that, the girl's voice dropped very low, and she said, "I understand!"

To make it more amusing, I had my baseball cap pulled way down, and the girl had copped to my unusual accent. The men at the next table had also caught Hannah's announcement, and they started whistling and looking around for threats, playing very seriously at spotting imminent terror threats! I sat there worrying that the manager would come out and ask to speak to me, but everything passed off gently - we also received incredible service, seemingly on account of my newfound Secret Agent status.

To bed and then up again, we rode up Signal Mountain and down again, for the views. We had the most horror-filled experience of the weekend, when we realised that a Waffle House employee had what looked like half a syringe sticking out of her neck. Personally, I don't think people recovering from tracheotomies make for the right vibe in a food environment. Sadly, this may have to be my last Waffle House visit.

Then we set off home, Hannah driving, me navigating, in perfect harmony. We stopped off and took this picture when we were back in Cumberland. Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Whoops, someone asked to be insulted...

This is fun, from the comments on the indymedia nuclear waste story Hannah wrote.

A dummy commented

"I was there, only 7 people where there and look pretty uneducated. We need better people on this site that can express there views and values better."

I replied,

"Look pretty uneducated"? Fine, judge people's education by their clothes. Please note, in the very next sentence you use "there views" instead of "their views". I would normally let such mistakes of usage pass, but as you're on the look out for uneducated people, I've found one - you.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I was on FOX! NEWS!

Yesssss! My first ever tv appearance and it's on fair and balanced Fox News! There I was, clearly seated, my head held high, without outside assistance, my baseball cap covering my dike top! It was ME! At City Hall, being an attentive citizen.

Wow, I need to go lie down and take in my newfound superstardom...

Nuclear Protest

I went with Hannah to City Hall to take photos of a council meeting. People were there to protest against plans to begin processing low level radioactive waste in Southwest Memphis.

Some RACE employees came along with "My job is at stake" stickers on them. They had some photogenic and glammed up employees, they had a lot of black folks, too. The protesters had brought the secret weapon of lots of cute kids with their own painted signs. I liked one that had a fish that looked angry and mutated.

We were given free t-shirts. The council squashed the protests by agreeing to wait another 30 days before making any recommendations.

We went into the lobby and talked to people. I probably ended up on TV a few times as there were five or six media crews there. I had my cap on, so my dike flat top did not make it onto state television.

The story and some pictures are here, at Tennessee Indymedia

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Honoring Patrick Wray

I'll give over today to celebrating my friend Patrick Wray, because Patrick is one of the good things on Earth. We go back to 1997 as friends.

He recently sent me a 2 CD package of his music project, Cogs, and it's one of the best albums I have heard in ages. Actually, if the Jackson trial can be Trial of the Century in 2005, then Cogs is certainly my Album of the Century

There's stuff on Patrick here

http://www.dietsoda.net/?s=artists&a=PW1

at least click and admire his moody mugshot

! Keep making noise !

The Least Funny Living Americans

I feel like handing out prizes, so I'll start with a joint honour for the TWO Least Funny Living Americans. Having been in America for more than 6 months I now feel suitably qualified to make such decisions.

Please NOTE: This pair won by an ABSOLUTE mile, there simply aren't many people less funny in America to compete with them

1. Jimmy Fallon
Look, if you're not funny, don't become a comedian. A comedian's job is to BE funny. Jimmy Fallon is not funny, therefore he should never have become a... oh wait! He's now a musician. Great! Two misguided career choices played out on America's televisions. Go, Jimmy. For anyone not sure what the facial expression below is to communicate, Jimmy is trying to be sexy with little success.

Should you find Jimmy at all sexy, please dial 1-800-I-THINK-JIMMY-IS-SEXY-HELP! and speak to one of our operatives. You can be helped.


2. Seth Meyers
It's an interesting, but not that interesting fact, that the funniest thing about Seth Meyers is his name, Seth. Seth, it sounds like a Star Wars baddie, it reminds English people of Seth, the old-timer in Emmerdale with the silly moustaches. Why Seth Meyers became a comedian is one of the most mystifying decisions ever made, along with why anyone would permit him to live out his dream by offering him paid TV work. Truly, a bank somewhere is missing a mortgage negotiator.

Is Hair Gay?

What makes everything to do with hair gay? Is hair gay?

No other body part is surrounded by such wonderfully gay words - pompadour, bouffant, coiffure

I think hair must be gay.

I mention this because I had my hair cut today and now have something that looks like a diesel dyke's flat top. Queer eye for the straight guy, indeed!

I've learned my lesson. Next time I will ask for something non-gay.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Repost inspired by L

I posted a picture of myself and Hannah a day or so ago where I resorted to some dodgy Photoshop work to conceal all evidence of a pink bra (it was being worn by Hannah, not me).

Following L's suggestion that stars would've been cuter, I am reposting an updated, family-friendly version, where both nipples, groin, and objects that are overly phallic in appearance are obscured in order to preserve the purity of the American people.

Driving Around Memphis, Nice! (DAMN!)

We went out driving again. It's one of my favorite activities, for sure, and now I can point and click the camera as we go. Here's a truck parked up.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Exciting! View from the Balcony and more...

We bought a digital camera today. Here is the first picture I took.



Here is a view of the back of the car, replete with Anti-Bush stickers. Please note the use of a blur on the license plate, it is of the kind more popularly used to obscure the participants faces on swingers sites.



Here we are. Please note that my hair is really that wild and big now, having based its styling on that icon of fashion, Ronald McDonald. My fat neck is also an attractive feature, and is brought to you in association with American Burgers and American Cheese. Hannah is simply her usual delightful self and requires no explanation.

Sex domains

I see that ICANN are considering allocating domains for sex sites that end in .xxx

Personally, I think a simple change to .cum would be more appropriate.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Guest Post from Hannah

I have been thinking lots about "Intelligent Design" lately. What is so gosh-darned "intelligent" about believing stories about a white haired, white-bearded man floating on a cloud that /created.../ oops, pardon me, /*Intelligently Designed */earth and light and man in seven days..... stories from a book (the Bible) which has been interpreted, reinterpreted and reinterpreted again and again and again? ( I can't help but think of that childhood game we used to play, known as "Telephone" where the children stand in line and the first person says something to the next who then repeats that something to the next to the next to the next and by the time it gets to the last girl in the line,the original thing that was said is so far skewed that everyone laughs at its ridiculousness as that last girl repeats what was transmitted on down the line.)

I find it an outrage that these religous fanatical wingnuts are gaining ground in our system, removing any morsels of/ intelligence/ from the grasp of our children in the public school system, i.e. debunking evolution without any intelligent theories to back it up except that the white haired, white-bearded man said so. Now if it's a homeless man on the street talking about how God told them this and God told them that, they would be institutionalized, but when the wingnut religious right institution says it, it's gospel, laws must be changed , we must deny our children the American dream of DISCOVERY!! and TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT and FREE THOUGHT!!

I have one thing to ask these bible thumping wingnuts who want to forcefeed their seven day intelligent design theory down my throat like a piece of bacteria-laden raw meat. SHOULD WE GO ON AHEAD AND DEFUND NASA WHILE WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF ENTERING THE AGE OF ENDARKENMENT?*

"Light from the farthest regions of the universe takes billions of years to reach Hubble. Amazingly, when we look at these most distant of all views, we see events that occurred before Earth itself existed — when the universe was merely a fraction of its present age."

*link to hubble site

Curtseys and waves,*

*Hannah*

Creationists - time to shut down Hubble!

From the hubble site, a place to go to be reminded how big the universe is.

"Light from the farthest regions of the universe takes billions of years to reach Hubble. Amazingly, when we look at these most distant of all views, we see events that occurred before Earth itself existed — when the universe was merely a fraction of its present age."

And remember - If we meditate properly we may even be able to recall a time before religious nutjobs.

(Obviously SATAN is beaming his LIES straight into the LENS of the Hubble Telescope!)

Random quote #1

"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty." - from Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson